I am pleased to introduce North Face athlete Kit Deslauriers. She shreds on the mountain, is a champion freeskier, and is guest blogging on FitSugar for January.
The Beginnings: Loving the peace of snow
With a resume that includes two-time World Freeskiing Women's Champion and being the first person to ski from the highest point on each continent, aka the Seven Summits, you would think that I started skiing when I was 2 years old, but that's not the way it went. To be sure, my two daughters started skiing at 15 and 17 months respectively and using sign language to ask for more since they were still too young to speak many words. But my story is more of one where I didn't grow up near a ski area nor could we afford to travel to one, so I learned to walk around outside in the woods in Winter on Nordic skis and found at an early age that I love the peace of being in nature in the Winter.
Learn why Kit thinks freeskiing is similar to meditation.
The Rush: Dancing down the mountain
Being cozy in my gear in inclement weather holds an almost ironic kind of glee for me, and then to mix that with flying down the mountain at high speeds, in exciting terrain that could offer serious consequences, literally makes me practice a kind of mental clarity. I find it completely rewarding. To give you an example of what I mean: it's the opposite of when you see someone skiing a steep chute pretty well and then all of a sudden something happens and she starts tumbling, and it looks like maybe she started making her grocery list half-way down. Not an option with the way I ski or the lines I choose to ski. And frankly I like having that consequence to measure myself against. It's a mandatory focus that only comes from simultaneously relaxing in the moment while maintaining complete awareness. If I am to actually sit on the meditation cushion I find I can cultivate something remotely similar you might say, and that is true minus the exhilaration of physically being able to dance down the mountain and be in nature.
The Pinnacle: Fave spots
I live in Jackson, WY (aka Jackson Hole) and it is no coincidence that these mountains are my favorite for a North American skiing experience. Many people want to know what would be the best and easiest mountain of the Seven Summits to ski if they could only pick one, and my answer to that is Mt. Elbrus, Russia, which is the highest point in Europe at 18,510 feet above sea level (5,642m).
Check back next week for Kit's advice on cross training to get mountain ready. Have you hit the slopes yet this year?